Hello everyone! My name is Nathan “noverb” Overbay and today I will be walking you through the Shadow cards of The Flame of Xulta. For the rest of the set review click here. This set features six new keywords, to find out more about them click here. My rating system is somewhat pass/fail and goes as follows:

  • Playable: I think this will see play in a relevant capacity.
  • Borderline: This card is close to playable. Often just shy of the pure power needed for Constructed play.
  • Niche: This will only see play in select decks that can utilize a specific synergy with this card.
  • Build-around: While similar to niche, this wants you to focus your deck around this card.
  • Meme: This card has applications outside of trying form the best deck possible and instead do something fun or eccentric.
  • Unplayable: This card is not powerful enough to see play or requires too much effort to be properly utilized.
  • Market: This card will likely only be played as a Market card.

Please note that the thoughts and judgement for each of these cards is with Throne Constructed in mind. The Expedition format is too undefined for me to be sure about each card’s power. My initial thoughts are that most cards would receive a significant rating boost when making the change from Throne to Expedition.

Banewulf

There are so many things you could be doing at seven power. Why choose this?

Judgement: Unplayable.

Befoul

If the Banewulf had Aegis I would be more inclined to do this. As it stands I do not want to play a card and sacrifice two others in order to play a 7/6 that will immediately be removed. That just seems foul.

Judgement: Unplayable.

Blood of Makkar

This Relic is quite the payoff for having a lot of evasive Units. It may be just a tad too low value for Constructed. The problem lies in having a deck already full of evasive threats that can successfully hit the opponent that want to get bigger. If the Units are big already they likely won’t need the boost. If they are not big enough they may not make it through to hit the player.

Judgement: Unplayable.

Bloodseeker

Bloodseeker is an above average 1-cost Unit. On top of already good stats for a 1-drop it also grows as the game progresses making it a decent draw at all stages. This card will lead the charge in a lot of aggressive decks to come.

Judgement: Playable.

Calamity Oracle

Without accounting for other cards, the body is sub-par. Milling the opponent for five is a lot of cards but it’s definitely a less consistent method when compared to Mournful Deathcap. If you can assemble a deck with milling the opponent in mind that also wants to play Curses this may be the card for you. That deck is very niche and likely a meme so I wouldn’t exactly call this playable.

Judgement: Unplayable.

Dread Hellkite

This Dragon has a few things going for it. First, it’s a Dragon, so it comes with all the tribal bonuses this set brings. Aside from being a Dragon, Dread Hellkite will do a lot of work in an Aggro deck by playing a Cowardice on the opponent’s blocker just as they start to stabilize. In that way it acts as pseudo-removal while also applying another body to the board. Even if it is removed the Summon effect will leave a lasting impression on the board.

Judgement: Playable.

Edict of Makar

The first line of text this is absolutely horrendous. You need to be targeting a Time or Justice Unit to make this card any semblance of playable. So that means it is forever relegated to the Market. The low cost of this card will often do work in weaseling your way out of  Power-light situations. So, like the argument for Vanquish over Vanquisher’s Blade, this may see market play over something like Annihilate or Desecrate.

Judgement: Market.

Eremot, Death Incarnate

Eremot has some words on it, that’s for sure. Killing any enemy Unit when it hits you is a strong effect. That combined with punishing them for attacking makes for a nice defensive Unit. On top of all of that Eremot has Unblockable to attack through all of those enemy Units that didn’t attack. Sadly Eremot costs 7 and doesn’t immediately affect the board with a Summon. Which leaves it in the territory of dying to removal without ever doing anything at such a high cost to you. The text makes it seem strong, but I think that’s a deception. It feels like it’s almost there, but not quite.

Judgement: Borderline.

Faceless One

I’m not sure where I stand on Faceless One. On one hand it offers you a free discard to things like Honor of the Claws and Gustrider and can be drawn with Press-Gang, so the setup is there. The problem is it just doesn’t do much. I could definitely see this getting value alongside the aforementioned cards so I’m going to tentatively call this playable, but it’s definitely niche.

Judgement: Niche.

Fell Ritual

The killing part is way over-costed. At that cost I could have it be a Fast Spell and that card doesn’t even see play. So the question becomes can you make use of both halves of this card? If not, then it’s just unplayable. How would one make use of it? Well the first thing that comes to mind is just Grasping at Shadows. However something as simple as Last Chance, Dark Return, or Immortalize may also work. Don’t count Haunting Scream out either.

Judgement: Unplayable / Niche.

Fervent Siphoner

Like most commons, this is tuned more towards draft. The statline is too low for constructed and it takes some work to get minimal payoff.

Judgement: Unplayable.

Immortalize

While this may cost more than Dark Return, if you can afford to Decimate you will really have a good time on your hands. This is one of the more consistent ways to give something Exalted. Doing so will let you mix and match keywords to make one helluva Unit. Not every deck will want this over Dark Return or Last Chance, but it’s definitely worth considering if you are looking to brew up a Unit worth talking about. This is one of those cards that you start a story with.

Judgement: Playable.

Incarnus, Makkar’s Listener

Incarnus is definitely playable. While the stats aren’t great for the cost, Unblockable certainly makes up for it. On top of that you will always be drawing a card with Invoke and she has the easiest Mastery to trigger. You don’t even have to work for it, just attack and wait. As long as she survives you are golden. If she gets removed you already drew a card so there isn’t much to worry about.

Judgement: Playable.

Lethrai Dead Drop

One of the better Bargain cards. Not only are you getting card advantage from playing this from your market, but it’s also drawing you cards to boot. A few life is a small price to pay to keep the gas flowing in your aggressive Elf deck.

Judgement: Market.

Makkar Evangel

Another of the Evangel cycle. While it has a notable keyword and typing I doubt this will see much play.

Judgement: Unplayable.

Makkar’s Bloodwolf

While a great card in Draft, I doubt this will make the move to Constructed. It’s overcosted for its statline and Mastery is going to take a few turns without some serious help.

Judgement: Unplayable.

Malaise

At first I dismissed Malaise, casting it into the pit that is the Mill archetype, which for all purposes is a meme. However, upon rereading it I realized you may target yourself. Reanimator was already playing Sporefolk. I think Malaise could find a home in Reanimator helping with some much needed consistency.

Judgement: Niche.

Marsh Dragon

This Nightmare Dragon may be decent in Draft but it does not have the statline or ability wanted in Constructed.

Judgement: Unplayable.

Noxious Wyvarch

This card exists in that realm where if it were one power cheaper I think this would see a lot of play in Constructed. As it stands I don’t think it will see much play. Seven is just too high a cost for a ¾ Flying. By the time Wyvarch comes down the Units you are trying to remove with -3/-3 will have already done their work.

Judgement: Unplayable.

Reconnaissance

These types of effects usually aren’t playable in constructed. However, thanks to the Decimate ability I think this might be a passable replacement for Secret Passage in some markets. Secret Passage lets you apply Unblockable over and over adding to the eventuality of the opponent’s death. Reconnaissance grants a bit of card advantage back if they blow wasn’t lethal. In most cases Secret Passage will still be better.

Judgment: Market?

Smokedancer

This card may see play in aggressive deck alongside Teething Whelp but otherwise you are waiting a few turns for Dragon Ally. If you have to wait then you are playing a below average 2-drop. The Ally is what makes this card useful, if you can’t trigger it early and often, I wouldn’t play this card.

Judgement: Niche.

Sunset Priest

This fuels multiple synergies in Draft and possibly Constructed as well. However, I think both the body and ability are below the threshold of playable. I would generally like more cards to be discarded or a meatier body to hold the line with. This unit just isn’t quite there on either thing it’s attempting.

Judgement: Unplayable.

Spectral Scythe

As an Armory player, I have always wanted a Relic Weapon that could sneak by the enemy Units and go directly to the face. I did not want it to be on a rather small Shadow card. If it had more sizeable stats to threaten the opponent with or if it was in Fire/Justice, I would be way more interested. Great proof of concept, doubt it will see much play. 

Judgement: Unplayable.

Torture

Don’t torture yourself by trying to play this in Constructed. This won’t remove anything of value.

Judgement: Unplayable.

Unkindness

If you plan to play this on turn two understand that often your opponent will more than likely follow it up with a Merchant. Against some decks this will make three Ravens immediately. Against others it may take several turns or the game may end before you see those birds. This uncertainty makes me want to avoid Unkindness.

Judgement: Unplayable.

Vicious Rejuvenation

I would be very surprised if there was a top tier deck featuring this card. It doesn’t affect the board, it doesn’t win the game, and it costs a ton of power. This card is very bad but I’m sure there are some people who will try to meme it with Last Stand at the Gate. Set your life total to 1, swap with the opponent, attack with minotaurs. What could possibly go wrong?

Judgement: Meme.

Vile Collaborator

Generally I don’t want to be playing a card that is not playable on it’s own to make other cards good. This is no exception. The Dragons you include in your deck shouldn’t need this buff to be playable, which means that this card is, at best, win-more.

Judgment: Unplayable.

Waylay

This card is exactly what I wanted Royal Decree to be. It hates out a card you may not be able to handle but instead of replacing them it removes them from the opponent’s deck. While that may not be as great for the person playing this I feel like it’s better for the game overall. I still think this card is quite playable. There are cards that you just won’t be able to deal with in some matchups. Whether that be Svetya, Rost, or Kairos, this can solve your problem before it starts. It also has the sweet bonus of stealing the enemy void in case they are trying to get fancy on you. Since you only want this in specific matchups it is solely a Market card.

Judgement: Market.

Shadow has some solid playables in it. This faction just continues to show that this set was made for synergy more-so than raw power. My favorite card from Shadow is Immortalize, there are so many cool implications to it, what’s not to love? I hope you enjoyed this set review, if you missed the others catch them here!

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